Monday, July 22, 2013

Tweet Away

No, not the birdie tweets. You know about Twitter. Everyone does at this point, but even some of my critique group members still haven’t gotten on the Twitter Train. 

To me it’s as much a word puzzle as a Social Media connector. And I do love word puzzles. To draw traffic to my foodie blog ( I sometimes tweet recipes like this:
Black Bottom Cupcakes-pt 1  Mix 1.5c flr/1c sug/.3c cocoa/1t bs/.5t salt/.3c oil/1T vinegar/1T van. Beat. Put n muf pan ~18 1/3 full batter

BlackBottomCupcakes-pt 2 Mix 1c cr ch/1 egg/.3c sug/1/8t salt+1c choc chps. Top batter c 1 heaping t cr ch mix. Bake 350° 30m +/-

Gelato 2c mlk/1c cr+4egylk/.5c sug Beat egz/sug til froth Wrm mlk/cr 2 foamy Slo por egz n2 mlk Ck 2 thck Sieve Chil ovnit N2 ice cr mach ~4

Lmn Sqrz 350° 1cfl/.3c confsug/5T btr n2 meal Prss n2 grsd8”pan Bk 20 m. 1c sug/2Tfl/3Tlmnzst/.5t bp/.25t slt/2 eg/8T lmnjus. Por on crust. Bk 20 m

Or I might post referrals to other sites:
-To celebrate National Peanut Butter Day make these “Classic Peanut Butter Cookies” at
-How dunking veggies sabotages your diet. Read more on "Six Diet Mistakes That Make You Fat" at

Some of my critique group members are retreating with me the next couple of days, and one of the areas we are dealing with, other than manuscript critiques, is Twitter--what it is, how to get set up, what you tweet, and so on.

Here’s what I am presenting to my group:

Twitter and How to Tweet

1) What is Twitter? Twitter is a condensed form of social media interaction consisting of messages to followers in 140 characters or less. The best way to explain this is through the Twitter in Plain English video.

2) Why Use Twitter? Twitter is a communication tool that allows participants to provide information in 140 characters or less. It is a way to announce information, share content, drive traffic to your blog, and build relationships by re-tweeting info others share.

3) How can I set up a Twitter account? You can sign up for Twitter for free at When you sign up you will get a page on Twitter with your username at the end of it. My pages are and  When you tell people to follow you (like friending on FB), you list yourself as @good2tweat or @romancerighter.

4) What is a Hashtag and how can I use it? A Hashtag (#) is a marker, or a tag used to keep Twitter messages together. The use of a Hashtag in your Twitter message makes it easier for people in that discussion to keep track of everyone's messages. When I did my Month of Soups series on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time”, I used #soup. Everyone who followed #soup got the messages, not just my official followers. People just search for the Hashtags they are interested in. You can also create (and register) as new Hashtag.

5) Shortening the URL Twitter only allows 140 characters and the URL from a source you are using plus your message may be too long. It needs to be shortened. I use
I paste the URL in and it shortens it for me to share on Twitter. I also use it sometime for FB.

There are tons of articles about tweeting/Twitter. Google for yourself.

Top 5 To Try

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I heard about the Public Safety Writers Association conference in Las Vegas through other Oak Tree Press authors. Lots of them were going to the conference, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to network with them and meet my Editor, Billie Johnson, and Sunny Frazier, the Acquisitions Editor who signed me.

Only 4 ½ hours drive from our summer place. Take in a show. Yeah. That was the plan. Attend. Talk and stalk. You know--normal conference behavior.


Who knew I would learn so much? Well, I guess my fellow authors did, but at this stage of my life, after dozens and dozens of conferences, I didn’t expect much.

The PSWA may be the best-kept secret in the writing of mysteries. I had never heard of it. Shame on me. The better known organizations/conferences like Boucheron, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Left Coast Crime, and so on attract large crowds of various flavors of mystery and thriller writers.

Not so PSWA. This small, intimate conference was packed with information and expertise. Almost all the presenters have backgrounds in law enforcement and public safety fields. Oh, and they write books, too!

Seriously. I sat next to Pete Klismet one day. He had been on a panel and had moderated another one. He was with the FBI for 25 years and was in the first group of psychological profilers trained. Yeah, he writes books, too.

Guy Painter, who was on a Homeland Security panel, does airport security, so I hit him up for help with my paranormal book’s airport security bid problem. He gave me his personal e-mail for future questions.

Sue Vondrak is an Illinois CSI who had me clinging on with fingernails during her fabulous DNA presentation. She also helped with the accuracy of a plot point for an upcoming culinary mystery book. Oh, did I mention she writes books, too?

Joe Haggerty presented jaw-dropping information about prostitution and the prosecution thereof based on his years dealing with the streets in D.C. He was more than generous on more than one occasion to help me with my Streetwalker series questions. He has a great book about a pimp.

Oh, and there were so many more. Thanks to all the unnamed from whom I learned as well!

Additionally, PSWA hosts a listserv so if you have a question like “Where could an ordinary person buy a body bag?” or “What is an undetectable poison during a normal tox screen?”, pose it and people will jump in to help. Wow! Just, wow!

The goal of all these sessions and informal conversations was to help me and other authors portray public safety workers and procedures accurately. Membership is the best $55 you’ll spend if you are writing mysteries or thrillers. Check it out at